Lujan Grisham turned down Interior post, says transition source

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamTensions emerge over redefining the fully vaccinated Connecticut governor says boosters needed for people to be fully vaccinated New Mexico governor says full vaccination must include boosters MORE (D) turned down an offer to serve in President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE’s Cabinet as Interior secretary, a source close to the transition told The Hill. 

Lujan Grisham is believed to be interested in a position as Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary in a Biden administration given her work on health care, and CNN reported Wednesday afternoon that she was the lead contender for that position. 

But the source who spoke to The Hill said transition sources don't know where "the HHS claims are coming from."


Lujan Grisham's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Lujan Grisham is one of the brightest Latino political stars in the country, and Hispanic groups have been pressing for Biden to select Latinos for prominent roles in his administration. 

But if she was offered and turned down one Cabinet post, it could mean that other contenders are more likely to be in line for the HHS position. 

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is also reportedly a contender for the post, as is former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyHarris announces .5B to fight shortage of doctors in underserved communities The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House Democrats eye big vote on Biden measure MORE.

That Lujan Grisham was offered the Interior post could also raise eyebrows given that other politicians from her state are interested in that position. 

Other New Mexican officials who have been seen as top contenders for the Interior role include Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandInterior recommends imposing higher costs for public lands drilling Overnight Energy & Environment — White House announces new climate office Biden administration approves second offshore wind project off Rhode Island MORE (D-N.M.), who would be the first Native American to lead the department, which has a heavy influence on tribal issues. 

Both of New Mexico's senators have also been floated as possible Interior contenders.